Casino operator Caesars Entertainment has rolled out a new policy that links comped drinks to how much a customer spends on gambling.
On Wednesday, Las Vegas media outlet KTNV reported that Caesars had rolled out a new comp drink monitoring system at all its Nevada properties. The automated system, which was field tested this summer, means gamblers will now have to spend big to drink for free.
The new setup involves a lighting system connected to the backs of video poker machines (customers can’t see them, but bartenders can). The light is blue to start, but the light switches to green if a customer wagers a certain volume over a certain period of time. Failure to sustain this wagering level means the light switches to red.
The new system means Caesars’ wait staff and bartenders have little discretion in terms of deciding who gets free drinks, with the exception of Seven Stars and Diamond tier loyalty club members. For everyone else, from this point forward it’s green light go, red light no.
Caesars is a pioneer in finding new ways to squeeze blood from a stone. In March 2013, Caesars’ Nevada properties began charging ‘resort fees’ for services customers used to enjoy for free, such as local phone calls and access to fitness centers – regardless of whether customers actually made use of such services. (Seriously, it’s almost as if they have some major debts to repay or something.)
But Caesars isn’t the only Vegas casino operator getting stingy with its bar tabs. MGM Resorts tested a similar system at its Mirage Lobby Bar this summer and determined that the new technology “made the number of comped drinks that players receive consistent for all slot players at the bar.”
So you see, folks, it’s all about consistency and fair play, and not in the least bit a nakedly corporate clawback. Just like this summer, when MGM reduced the volume of a poured shot of booze from 1.5 oz. to 1.25 oz., even if you’re paying for it, after determining that cocktail-sipping customers couldn’t tell the difference. Or when MGM eliminated free parking for its Vegas casino guests.
Hey, if you’re looking for an upside, the increasing difficulty of getting drunk in Vegas should theoretically spare us another dismal Hangover movie sequel.